(to be) out of your element

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - out of your element

"(to be) out of your element"

to feel unhappy, uncomfortable or inept because you are in a situation that you are not familiar with


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - out of your element

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: The boss wants me to start working directly with clients.

Colleague 2: That's great, right? It is a step up for you.

Colleague 1: But I am so accustomed to working with data and computers that I will be totally uncomfortable dealing with a customer. I have no idea what to do or say.

Colleague 2: Sure, you may feel out of your element at first but I can help you. You will get the hang of it in no time.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - out of your element

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: Where's George?

Friend 2: He's taking a carpentry class.

Friend 1: Excuse me? Did I hear you correctly? George is taking a carpentry class? He's never lifted up a tool in his life.

Friend 2: George wanted to try something different; something that would take him out of his element.

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(to be) out of your element - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   271   click for frequency by country

(to be) out of your element - Gerund Form:

Being out of his element, he had no idea what was expected of him.

(to be) out of your element - Examples:

1)  That was so out of my element, but now, it's not that bad of an experience.

2)  ... was beyond anything I had ever experienced and that I would be out of my element among much more experienced individuals.

3)  The route was good, just very out of my element, and I was therefore punished for it.

4)  ... but maybe she thought I'd be uncomfortable around her out of my element? So I'm keeping my mouth shut!

5)  I missed my mom and I was out of my element. I'd never been away from home for more than a night.

6)  Only when it became painfully obvious he was totally out of his element did they pounce. His insecurity manifested itself in his dictatorial style.

7)  ... a super-competent dentist and pillar of his community who's a bit out of his element in the domestic sphere.

8)  Thornhill is refreshingly out of his element, bumbling through his crises with wit, irreverence, and completely unpredictable solutions.

9)  I think he said no because it would have put him out of his element.

10)  ... but I also think that as a writer for films he's out of his element. He's much better when he's writing TV episodes.

11)  ... in rivers, where the sharks get more aggressive because they're out of their element.

12)  I always say even doctors out of their element lack common sense. 

13)  When they get out of their element, things inevitably go wrong.

14)  ... to live somewhere completely out of their element, to say goodbye to everything they've ever known?

15)  If it's something completely out of their element then I won't do it, because that messes up the relationship.

16)  It is the adventure, the thrill of being so out of your element that your life and safety is in the hands of random strangers.

17)  When have you engaged in an activity where you were completely out of your element? As adults, we tend to avoid those situations because we wish to avoid ...

18)  ... and frustrated by poor customer service, then you will definitely be out of your element in the Middle East.

19)  You are clearly out of your element here. This article is disjointed, terribly misinformed about the process and ...

20)  Try and always pick at least one program completely out of your element. Make it something that might help you diversify your business or pick up on ...